“Love Gloves” handed out Wednesday to people in need – rochesterfirst.com

“Love Gloves” handed out Wednesday to people in need

The gloves were handed out by The Life Center

A local designer is helping those in need stay warm this winter.
Mary Ellen Hill runs Bespoke Designs at ROCO Upstairs on East Avenue. She is also a regular volunteer at The Life Center on Lawn Street in Rochester, which helps distribute things like groceries and clothing to those in need.
She ended up with a lot of left over fabric scraps from a recent project and with them, decided to create “love gloves.” Mary Ellen handed them out Wednesday night at The Life Center.
We wanted to know how folks have reacted to her generosity.
“Another gentleman came to me and he’s homeless and he got frost bite on four of his fingers,” said Hill. “He’s recovering from that and so he was so grateful to have a pair of warm gloves to put on over his bandaged fingers so that was really touching.”
All services and goods distributed at The Life Center are free of charge or obligation and are available to anyone in need.
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Counting the homeless in Monroe County – Rochesterfirst.com

Counting the homeless in Monroe County

News 8 takes a ride-along with a group of volunteers trying to make a difference

by: Sajad Hoffman-Hussain

Teams of trained volunteers met up in Rochester on Tuesday night to find and interview area homeless persons for an annual nationwide homeless count and survey.

Over 100 volunteers helped out with the initiative, which continued into Wednesday morning. News 8’s Wakisha Bailey went along with them to find out why.

The first team met at 7:30 p.m., with a second team spreading out across the City of Rochester at 1:30 a.m., looking for homeless people in soup kitchens, libraries, parks, and streets.

Nick Coulter, from Person-Centered Housing Options, said counting people not in shelters helps them receive funding for homeless programs.

The Homeless Continuum of Care and PCHO conduct this count annually for HUD, to help provide a look at what our homeless population demographics might be here in Monroe County.

The aim is to increase funding opportunities with reliable data, and to teach us how best to create a responsive system to end homelessness altogether.

Watch video here…

JPMorgan settles mortgage discrimination lawsuit – whec.com

JPMorgan settles mortgage discrimination lawsuit

January 18, 2017 11:34 AM

NEW YORK (AP) – JPMorgan Chase is settling charges that independent brokers working for the bank discriminated against minorities seeking home mortgages.

A federal suit filed Wednesday in Manhattan accused JPMorgan Chase & Co. of charging black and Hispanic borrowers higher interest rates and fees for mortgages from 2006 to at least 2009. The lawsuit alleges that discrimination cost at least 53,000 minorities borrowers tens of millions in higher interest payments and fees.

The New York bank denied wrongdoing, but says it’s agreed to settle the claims for $55 million.

Ben Carson calls for more resources to fight lead poisoning during hearing – WHEC news 10

Ben Carson calls for more resources to fight lead poisoning during hearing

Housing Secretary Nominee Ben Carson is calling for lead prevention and treatment to become a top priority across the country.

Carson says he wants to add neighborhood clinics and says reducing the amount of lead inside your home is no longer enough.

Despite work in recent years to lower the number of children exposed to lead, experts in the Rochester area say it’s still a serious issue.

“There are still over 120 kids every year who are exposed to high levels and we need to try to protect those kids,” says Dr. Katrina Smith Korfmacher, professor of Environmental Medicine, UR.

Doctor Smith Korfmacher says children are most at-risk for lead poisoning. It can lead to brain damage and even personality disorders.

Carson told the Senate Banking Committee that he would make lead poisoning a priority. The announcement came during his confirmation hearing to become the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development or HUD.

Specifically, Carson wants to add neighborhood clinics. We asked Doctor Smith Korfmacher if she thinks that’s really needed.

“In general having more health services and more access is important for kids to be able to get screened for lead and get whatever services they need,” says Doctor Smith Korfmacher.

But she says lead poisoning can’t be treated, so the clinics would need to focus on prevention, providing more ways for people to test their homes for lead. Especially, those who live in a house built before 1978 which are considered high-risk for having lead paint.

“HUD has a really important role to play there in terms of funding lead hazard control grants and supporting regulations that make publicly owned and publicly regulated housing lead safe,” the doctor tells us.

Experts say Rochester has seen the most improvement in all of upstate New York when it comes to reducing the amount of lead children are exposed to. We’ve seen almost a ninety percent reduction in the number of kids with elevated blood lead levels in the past fifteen years.

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Vermont town battles for its charm

WOODSTOCK, Vt. (AP) — This picturesque town, which has provided a backdrop for early environmentalists, the Rockefellers and even the Budweiser Clydesdales, is fighting a battle over how to keep the charm that has become its trademark. At issue: window shutters.

Zoning regulations require that most buildings in the central district have shutters, relics that once helped protect buildings but have evolved into a symbol of the architectural beauty of rural New England.

“The Village of Woodstock has an international reputation as one of the finest examples of a traditional New England Village,” say the village zoning regulations.

Many shutters adorning homes and buildings were installed decades ago, and they are deteriorating. Some property owners are questioning the community’s requirement, arguing that the regulations are enforced irregularly, and that some buildings look better without shutters.


In 2014, the village lost a legal battle with someone who wanted to remove their shutters, so officials rewrote the rules. It won two more recent court cases supporting its shutter position.

One local property owner who lost a case, and is now being required to reinstall shutters on the building he owns at village’s edge, said that many buildings don’t have shutters and that he believes his looks better without them.

“We consider ourselves good citizens and want to comply with the regulations. Our view is there’s an inconsistency of application,” said William Bawden, of Washington, D.C., who since 1999 has owned an antique business with his wife in a separate building behind the structure that was the subject of his case.

The bigger issue is about more than just shutters, said Town Planner Michael Brands. It’s about anything that changes the look of a house in Woodstock’s design review district — including picket fences, window air conditioners, kitchen vents and, more recently heat pumps. New technology has to be made to blend in to the architecture, and all is subject to review, he said.

“As time goes on, more and more communities across the country are losing their historic-ness and the look they had,” he said. “Once you allow two or three buildings to be removed and replaced with something god-awful from the ’70s, the entire historic ambience is gone and unlikely to return.”

Vermont town in Budweiser Clydesdale ad fights to save its charm

Hart’s Local Grocers to pilot program for online SNAP payments – Democrat & Chronicle

Hart’s Local Grocers to pilot program for online SNAP payments

by: Meaghan M. McDermott

Hart’s Local Grocers is one of seven retailers picked for a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program that will allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to buy groceries online.

“We were blown away to be selected, to be on that list and just one of seven retailers picked in the country,” said Colleen Griffin-Underhill, Hart’s general manager. She said the grocery store applied for consideration mainly due to the popularity of online shopping, and the company’s ongoing experience with online ordering, in-store pickup and delivery. “This felt like the right time, we felt we had the process under our belts and we wanted to grow our business.”

The online ordering pilot program includes national retailers Amazon, FreshDirect and Safeway, smaller chains ShopRite and Hy-Vee, the four-store Buffalo area chain Dash’s Market and Hart’s, which has its single store on Winthrop Street in Rochester’s East End. The pilot program will be offered in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington and Iowa.

Griffin-Underhill said it is too early to say what the particulars of the pilot program at Hart’s would be, but it is likely that people would be able to make their online order, pay for eligible items with their SNAP card and use an alternative form of payment such as a debit card for non-SNAP eligible items and any delivery fees.

A conference with USDA is expected later this week.

“We hope to learn more about what this new partnership means,” she said. “We just want to make it work and make it easy for people.”

Hart’s has a five-mile delivery radius that encompasses most of the City of Rochester, stretching out to portions of Irondequoit, Brighton, Gates, Greece, Webster and Penfield. There is a $1.99 charge for in-store pickup, and Griffin-Underhill said delivery charges are typically between $4 and $8, depending on distance.

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Group seeks help funding bike share sites – Democrat & Chronicle

Group seeks help funding bike share sites

by: Brian Sharp

When the city of Rochester’s new bike share program kicks off this spring, a local nonprofit wants to make sure some of the bike pickup and drop-off spots are located in impoverished neighborhoods on the northern edge of downtown.

To that end, Reconnect Rochester has launched an online crowdfunding effort to cover the required sponsorship of as many as five sites.

The city sought proposals for a bike share program, selecting Zagster, with its plan to place 25 or more stations and/or 250 bikes throughout downtown and the surrounding area. But the city is not funding the bike share, so community and corporate sponsors are being sought to cover the $9,000 expense per station, per year.

Reconnect Rochester has targeted sites in locations that it fears might otherwise be overlooked, including the Upper Falls/Amtrak Station and South Marketview Heights/Public Market areas. To contribute, go to crowdrise.com/rochester-bike-share.

Click here to read the full story.

More than $3 million awarded to Monroe Co. for supportive housing projects – Rochesterfirst.com

More than $3 million awarded to Monroe Co. for supportive housing projects

by: Caitlin Madison

Governor Cuomo has announced that $14.3 million has been awarded to six projects across New York State that will create 141 units of housing for homeless families and individuals.

According to Cuomo, these projects will serve New Yorker’s experiencing homelessness, including women and their children, veterans, and individuals living with mental illness, HIV/AIDS or addiction.

“Every New Yorker deserves an affordable and decent place to call home and this new housing will bring us one step closer to that goal, while ensuring some of the most vulnerable among us receive the care and resources they need,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will help support healthier, stronger communities across New York for generations to come.”

Cuomo says the funding will support projects in Albany, Monroe, Oneida and Seneca counties, and the Bronx. Projects will include a range of housing types, including permanent and transitional supportive housing, and temporary emergency housing to help families and individuals move from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

In Monroe County, Catholic Family Center will receive $1,686,857 in funding and House of Mercy will receive $2,300,000 in funding.

These projects are part of Governor Cuomo’s $20 billion Homelessness and Affordable Housing Action Plan, which includes $10 billion dedicated to creating and preserving 100,000 units of affordable housing, and $10 billion dedicated to tackling homelessness by developing 6,000 new permanent supportive housing units and 1,000 emergency beds.

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Upstate NY groups getting $60M in US funds to help homeless – whec.com

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – More than three dozen organizations across upstate New York will be splitting $60 million in federal funding for programs that address local homelessness.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Thursday that the funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will go to 38 organizations that can quickly find new housing for homeless individuals and families and promote programs that encourage self-sufficiency.

The two New York Democrats say supporting the organizations can make “a real dent” in homelessness across the state.

The largest allocation – $13.7 million – will go to groups in the Capitol region, with more than half of the funding earmarked for Albany County. Western New York and the Rochester-Finger Lakes region are each getting $12 million, followed by $11 million for central New York.

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$9.9M project underway: Building to have lofts, retail and office space – www.rbj.net

$9.9M project underway: Building to have lofts, retail and office space

by: Andrea Deckert

Work is underway on a nearly $9.9 million renovation project for a mixed-use building in the city’s Culver University East neighborhood.

The work at 1255 University Ave. is being done by Park Grove Realty LLC, a Rochester-based real estate management and development firm.

The company started in September 2015 and is led by Andrew Crossed, managing partner, and Andrew Bodewes, partner, both of whom worked at Conifer Realty LLC before deciding to start their own firm.

The project is to include 39,000 square feet of office and retail space and create 17 loft-style apartments and indoor parking. The original structure, built in 1918, was expanded in the 1930s and 1940s to the current 105,000 square feet.

“This has been a tremendously underutilized building for some time,” Crossed said, noting the location is ideal in an area of the city where people live, work, shop and dine out.

The Park Grove partners thought it would be better utilized as a mixed-use structure, hence the lofts.

The market rate residential units will consist of one- and two-bedroom units, ranging from 1,100 to 2,400 square feet and rents of $1,300 to $2,250.

The apartments feature high ceilings, exposed beams and industrial windows; some have balconies. A two-story vestibule, with exposed light, is being constructed as an entrance to the residential portion of the building.

The units will be ready for occupancy next spring or early summer, and interest in them has begun, Crossed said.

Parking also was a challenge since the building takes up most of the property, making additional outdoor parking difficult, Bodewes said.

In response, Park Grove added two covered parking lots on the site. One, on the lower level of the building, is for residential use and has an elevator for the tenants. The other is for commercial business.

The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency approved a property tax abatement in November totaling $1.8 million for the project.

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